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Full text of "The Thoreau Society Bulletin"

74e 

THOREAU SOCIETY 

BULLETIN 



BULLET IN 17* 
SUCMET?, 1985 
US ISSN 0040-6406 

THOREAU 'S MODERNITY: A COMPUTERIZED PROSE ANALYSIS 

BY Len Gougeon 

It has occasionally been suggested that Thoreau 
is one of the first "modern" prose stylists in 
American literature. Certainly, by comparison to 
contemporaries such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcottj 
and others he is conspicuously different. Intrigued 
by the possibility of testing the modernity of 
Thoreau' s prose, I thought that it would be inter- 
esting and amusing to run a representative sample 
of his writing through a computerized "prose analy- 
zer" which is designed to assess and improve the 
efforts of the modern writer. The results, I felt, 
could be very revealing. 

For the as-yet uninitiated, a computer driven 
prose analyzer is a software program designed to 
evaluate individual writing samples with a view to 
improving them. These programs have been available 
for some time for use with main frame computers 
(Writer's Workbench is probably the best known). 
Recently there has been a proliferation of such 
software designed for use with the personal comput- 
er. One such program is Lancelot which is a copyvrit- 
ten prose analysis package developed at Clarkson 
University. It is this latter, combined with an 
IBC PC, which I used for my Thoreau experiment. 

For my analysis I selected chapter two of Walden, 
"Where I Lived and What I Lived For" (in the Norton 
Critical Edition). My reasons for choosing this 
sample of Thoreau' s writing are simple. First of 
all, it's short, about seventeen double-spaced 
pages; secondly, it is a relatively self-contained 
and complete unit; thirdly, it is, I feel, an ex- 
cellent example of Thoreau' s writing at its best. 

After typing the chapter into a file on my PC, 
I proceeded to run the analysis, which consists of 
three parts. The first program in the analysis is 
called Index . This program analyzes a text for 
readibility, that is, it determines how difficult 
(or easy) a prose statement is to read. It generat- 
es a Basic St-yle index (abbreviated as BS with no 
intentional pun) by checking the text for sentence 
and word length, for subordination, coordination 
verb complexity, and negation. After performing 
this analysis the program generates a "Basic Style 
Rating." A higher number indicates a difficult 
text. The program also provides a scale which allows 
one to interpret the Basic Style Rating figure. For 
example, a rating between 6 and 10 means that the 
text is easily read," while a rating between 15 and 
18 is judged "difficult," and 19 and above "calls 
for revision." Thoreau' s BS rating was 13, which 
places it in the "readable" category, which is good. 
This program also generates a histogram showing the 
length of all sentences in the sample so that the 
writer can tell at a glance if his sentences are 
monotonously long, or short, or medium, etc. 



The Thoreau Soolety, Inc., is an infor- 
mal gathering of students and admirers of 
Henry David Thoreau. Frederiok Wagner, 
president; Mary Anderson, treasurer; and 
Walter Harding, secretary. Address communi- 
oations to the secretary at State University 
College, Geneseo, N.T. 14454, Dues, flO a 
year; Friend, $15; Family, $25; and Life 
Membership, $500. Dues should be sent to 
the Thoreau Soiiety, 156 Belknap St., Con- 
cord, Mass. 01742, where the society main- 
tains The Thoreau Lyceum 



Thoreau' s histogram showed a proper and desirable 
blend of 3hort, long, and intermediate sentences. 
Also, his chapter contains 208 sentences, the long- 
est of which is 143 words, which the computer sug- 
gests, is "probably too long." By the way, the 
value iudgments which the computer program executes 
are based generally on the grammatical theories of 
Dr. Rudolph Flesh (author of How to Test Readibili- 
ty) and are offered to the writer as suggestions 
rather than absolutes. 

Thoreau' s most frequently used word is "not" 
(52 times), which probably reinforces his reputa- 
tion as a nay-sayer. The other most frequently used 
words are "we" (45), "which" (42), "my" (42), "if" 
(42), "his" (37), "this" (33), "had" (33), "have" 
(30), and "all"(30, which would seem to suggest a 
tendency toward Anglo-Saxon brevity, The computer 
also counted 831 words which "appear to be preposi- 
tions," This gives Thoreau an average of three 
prepositions per sentence, which the computer 
suggests is "probably too many," 

The second analytic program is called Diction , 
This program checks for "empty words and phrases, 
redundancies, cliches, and awkward constructions.' 
When potential problem statements are located in 
the text, this file will identify them and offer 
suggestions for revision which the writer can act 
on or ignore. Thus, the computer suggested that 
Thoreau should delete the words "afltually," "com- 
pletely," and "quite" to "intensify his meaning." 
It also suggested dropping "rather," "really," and 
"somewhat" because they are weak modifiers, As far 
as Thoreau 's word choice is concerned, the computer 
found very little empty or pretentious diction. It 
did, however, suggest substituting "so" for "accord- 
ingly," "pay" for "compensation," and "stop or 
pause" for "cessation." 

Regarding wordy phrases or redundancies, the pro- 
gram suggested that Thoreau might substitute "doubt- 
less" for "no doubt that," and also that he should 
reconsider his frequent use of such phrases as, 
"Kind of," "more or less," "as for," "began to"and 
"I think" since they are often unnecessary. Addi- 
tionally, the computer did note Thoreau' s repeti- 
tions, "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity," and 
simplify, simplify" and asked, "Are you sure you 
want to do this?" 

The last analysis file is called Verb . It is de- 
signed to look at the writer's use of the various 
forms of the verb "to be." It reports how frequent- 
ly the verb is used, points out those individual in- 
stances in the text, and also identifies its func- 
tion as a helping verb. Thus, when Thoreau says, "I 
would say to my fellows, once for all, as long as 
possible live free and uncommitted," the program 
draws up the statement and suggests, "you use the 



helping verb "would." This word is frequently over- 
used. Use compound verbs sparingly. Try to write 
using simple present and simple past when possible" 
As it turns out, Thoreau uses the word "would" 
fairly frequently (fourteen times), which probably 
reinforces the idea that Transcendentalists are 
generally reforming idealists. 

Lastly, the program identified 255 forms of the 
verb "to be" in 208 sentences. The computer isolat- 
ed each of these usages and politely suggested that 
the writer should consider his use of the "to be" 
verb and "revise if you are using unnecessary pass- 
ives or unnecessarily complex verb forms. Try to 
use active verbs" Indeed, in most instances 
Thoreau 's usage is active. What could be more ac- 
tive, for example, than.the statement, "To him 
whose elastic vigorous thought keeps pace with the 
sun, the day is a perpetual morning." 

Overall, throughout the 38 pages of analysis 
which Thoreau' s chapter generated, the bard's 
prose held up well under computer scrutiny, which 
would seem to testify to the fact that the style 
is at least comparable to modern useage and stand- 
ards as developed within this popular computer 
program. When musing over the results of my experi- 
ment I could not help but wonder what Thoreau 
would have done with a program such as this and 
the technology which operates it. My conclusion is 
that he would probably appreciate the ingenuity in- 
volved but moderate his enthusiasm with a recogni- 
tion of the dangers of becoming the tools of our 
tools . 

LETTER FROM "A FAR-FLUNG MEMBER " 

CEditor's note: This letter was recently receiv- 
ed from a member of our society who is a resident 
of a country behind the Iron Curtain. He has re- 
quested that his name be withheld. 3 

Dear Mr. Harding: 

Your paper on different drummers which you read 
at the 1984 Annual Meeting has moved me to write 
you again. I do hope, you'll not be annoyed to 
receive and read a letter that will be coming from 
a far-flung country and from a far-flung member of 
your /our!/ Society. 

I reckon with a maximum probability, that I 
will emulate Joseph Isill in dreaming in vain of 
visiting Concord and Walden Pond - not even in my 
seventies, - never participate in post luncheon 
quizzes at our Annual Meetings, never take part in 
a box-supper held at the Lyceum, never join a Sun- 
rise Walk to Walden Pont to celebrate Thoreau' s 
Birthday, never listen to a sermon at the First 
Parish Church or ever stand at the top of Mount 
Washington. 

Looking through my fifty years of life here in 
Central Eastern Europe I confirm silently my des- 
perate enterprises having been successfully avoid- 
ed and my steps being adjusted to a music I have 
never stopped hearing. 

Even at this end of the world to miss out on des- 
perate enterprises means opting out of pecuniary 
values for good. Such makings selected on purpose 
endorse with heavy practical reasons my perpetual 
absence from Concord on one side. On the other 
side the experience of not keeping pace with my 
companions has been constantly spurring me to find 
out whose drum do I hear. The rough road has lead 
me to Thoreau. Under bitter experiences it came 



to be true that in my surrounding a thoreauvian way 
of life shall remain a queer and suspicious one. 

In spite of such negative omens I am convinced, 
that differences and departures I feel and observe 
are superficialities. Essential features link the 
thoreauvian and Central European facet of serious 
and radical individualism incorporated in certain, 
chosen lifestyles. 

POKROVISKIY'S THOREAU 

"Thoreau," by Nikita Yevgen' yevich Pokrovskiy, a 
Soviet specialist in the history of 18th- and 19th- 
century American philosophy, is a concise and very 
readable description of Thoreau' s life and thought, 
written for a mass audience in the Soviet Union. 
Pokrovskiy begins by describing Thoreau' s life, 
noting the events and people which influenced 
Thoreau' s thinking. He then describes the American, 
European, and Oriental cultural influences on 
Thoreau, providing a Marxist-Leninist view of early 
American history. The main part of the book examines 
Thoreau' s philosophy. Thoreau' s symbolic world 
vision and the concept of rebirth are discussed. 
Pokrovskiy discusses Thoreau' s views on nature and 
society , particularly business and wealth, very 
thoroughly. The author also explores an area he 
considers too-little studied: Thoreau's relation- 
ship with John Brown. 

Noting that Leo Tolstoy referred to "Walden" 
daily, the author briefly describes Tolstoy's 
attitude toward Thoreau. Tolstoy was instrumental 
in publishing the first Russian translation of 
Thoreau's works. Pokrovskiy suggests that the 
Tolstoy Archives and the Tolstoy Library at Yasnaya 
Polyana would be fruitful places to carry out much- 
needed scholarship on this subject. 

CThis book is in the series, "Thinkers of the 
Past," from Mysl' Publishing House, Moscow. 
Edition: 60,000 copies. Retail price: 25 kopecks 
(about 30 cents ) .} - James W, Toppin 

THE POLITICS OF PROVOCATION 

By Helmut Klumpsan 
(Abstract of DIE POLITIK DER PROVOKATION: HENRY 
DAVID THOREAU. Frankfurt: Peter Lanz, 1984. 360pp. 
Originally a 1980 Ph.D. dissertation at the Univ- 
ersity of Bochun, Germany). 

Starting from a genetic point of view - rather 
than from the systematic approach applied by the 
doctoral dissertations of EVANS and MCKAY - this 
study tries to shed more light on the perplexing 
changes in Thoreau's attitude towards politics. 
Among the different cultural, psychological, 
historical, and situational factors which influenc- 
ed Thoreau's oscillation between a quietist atti- 
tude (young man Thoreau's withdrawal from the "dirt" 
of politics as well as his final detachment from 
Civil War) and an activistic attitude (moving from 
civil disobedience to the radical apology of rev- 
olutionary violence), attention is specially given 
to religious influences and to the condition of 
Thoreau's consciousness. 

As in previous studies, which have stressed the 
close relationship between the psychological situ- 
ation of Thoreau and religious influences, this 
study also points out the close connection between 
Thoreau's quietist attitude and the impact of New 
England transcendentalism (and quakerism). Unlike 
the previous studies, however, the cause of 
Thoreau's activistic attitude are not reduced to 



the influence of Puritanism. Instead, it is shown 
that the relationship is much more complex. This 
is true, too, for the relationship between Thoreau' s 
quietist attitude and his mysticism. Though his 
quietism has its basis in the actualization of his 
great mystic abilities, it would be a distorting 
over-simplification to name Thoreau a mystic with- 
out making major qualifications. 

Instead of regarding Thoreau's life-long oscilla- 
tion between a quietist and an activistic attitude 
as basically a repeated change between transcen- 
dentalist and a puritan approach toward life, this 
study tries to demonstrate that it was the oscilla- 
tion between "mysticism" and "gnosticism" which 
formed the basis of Thoreau's changing attitude 
toward politics. In this context, the term "gnos- 
ticism" signifies a mode of consciousness which 
tries to replace the uncertainty of the Christian 
belief (or the purely transcendental enlightenment 
of the mystic) with the i mmanent certainty obtain- 
ed through GNOSIS (i.e. ultimate ontological know- 
ledge which allegedly enables man to effect by 
himself the salvation from the deficiencies of the 
human condition). Following Eric VOEGELINs studies 
on the political consequences of a gnostic mode of 
consciousness (particularly a case study of revo- 
lutionary Puritanism) , this study goes on to show 
that in Thoreau's case the shifting from a mystic 
towards a gnostic mode of consciousness resulted 
in the revolutionary activism of his later years. 
The causes of this shift in his mode of (conscious- 
ness, are traced back to both psychological fac- 
tors (especially to the unbearably long period of 
his "inner winter" of fading intuitional power) 
and to the influences of the gnostic world-view 
contained in the Puritan interpretation of 
Christianity. 

The stress laid on the consideration of factors 
of consciousness, together with the genetic 
approach of the study, will help, it is hoped, to 
eliminate two persisting faulty judgements on 
Thoreau's attitude towards politics: l st ly, that 
his political zigzag was merely a response to out- 
er stimuli, and 2 n< lly, that his contradictory 
statements on politics are proof of his inability 
to write the stringent political theory he 
(allegedly) had tried to achieve. 

Though Thoreau's attitude toward politics under- 
went extreme changes during his short public life 
as a writer, there is nevertheless a continuity in 
all of these changes: the common denominator is 
the "broken" relationship with politics of the 
radical idealist who is not willing to compromise 
his perfectionist standards with the imperfect 
reality of political life, and who, therefore, as 
Max WEBER pointed out, does not possess the voca- 
tion for politcs. 

THOREAU IN THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE , 1977-1983 
by Robin S, McDowell 
While Henry David Thoreau is one of the most 
quotable, and most quoted, American writers, it 
is less often realized that he is also cited 
occasionally in the current literature of science. 
A previous article in the Bulletin (No. 143 
(Spring 1978), p. 2) summarized those instances 
in which Thoreau's observations or conclusions 
on natural history had been considered pertinent 
by scientific authors during the period 1964- 
1976. Here this list is updated through 1983. 
During these last seven years Thoreau was cited 



30 times, or over four times per year, which com- 
pares favorably with 8.2 times per year for the 
average working scientist. The more interesting 
citations are discussed below. For consistency, 
all page numbers refer to the 1906 Walden edition 
of Thoreau's Writings , even though the authors may 
have used some other source (or, in some cases, 
failed to give detailed references). 

1. C.G. Lormier, "The Presettlement Forest and 
Natural Disturbance Cycle of Northeastern Maine," 
Ecology 58 (1977, 139-148, mentions Thoreau's 
observation of the dominance of spruce and fir in 
virgin forests of northern Maine: The Maine Woods , 
Appendices I, III. 

2. P. Del Tredici, "The Buried Seeds of Compto- 
nia peregrina , the Sweet Fern" Bulletin of the 
Torrey Botanical Club 104 (1977, 270-275, cites 
the Journal 14: 162 (22 Oct. 1860) on the sweet 
ferm, a "pioneer" species whose seeds can persist 
in the soil for many years until uncovered by a 
disturbance such as a railroad cut. 

3. H.I. Baldwin, "The Induced Timberline of 
Mount Monadnock, N.H.," Bulletin of the Torrey 
Botanical Club 104 (1977), 324-333, mentions 
Thoreau's observations of the flora of this peak 
during his vists there, as recorded in the Journal 
(4:342-347, 10:452-480, 14:8-52; Sept. 1852, June 
1858, Aug. 1860). 

4. J.W. Jorgenson, M. Novotny, M. Carmack, G.B. 
Copland, S.R. Wilson, S. Katona, and W.K. Whitten, 
"Chemical Scent Constituents in the Urine of the 
Red Fox ( Vulpes vulpes L. )"Durinp the Winter Sea- 
son," Science 199 (1978), 796-798, quote Thoreau's 
description of the trail of a red fox on fresh 
snow, Journal l:185f. (30 Jan. 1841); cf. also 
Excursions . p. 117. 

5. H. Caswell, "Predator-Mediated Coexistence: 
A Non-Equilibrium Model," American Naturalist 112 
(1978), 127-154, credits Thoreau, in "The Succes- 
sion of Forest Trees" tEighth Annual Report of the 
Secretary of the Mass. Board of Agriculture : 
Excursions , pp. 184-204), as the first to emphasize 
the importance of dispersal in plant succession. 

6. M.J. McDonnell, "The Flora of Plum Island, 
Essex County, Massachusetts," New Hampshire Agri- 
cultural Experiment Station Bulletin 513 (1979), 
1-110, quotes (on p. 13) Thoreau's description of 
Plum Island in 1839: Week , p. 210. 

7. N. Mrosovsky and C.L. Yntema, "Temperature 
Dependence of Sexual Differentiation in Sea 
Turtles: Implications for Conservation Practices," 
Biological Conservation 18 (1980), 271-280, end 
their paper with a quotation from the Journal 

7:28f. (9 Sept. 1854) on the earth hatching and 
"mothering" turtle eggs. 

8. H.F, Hemond , "Biogeochemistry of Thoreau's 
Bog, Concord, Massachusetts," Ecological Mono - 
graphs 50 (1980), 507-526, examines the bog ilhat 
Thoreau knew as Gowing ' s Swamp ( Journal 6:467f 
10:196f., 271f., 13:124f.; 23 Aug. 1854, 23 Nov! 
1857, 1 Feb. 1858, and 3 Feb. 1860). From Thoreau's 
description the changes in plant species over 120 
years can be determined, and his measurement of 
the central pool provides an estimate of the rate 
of advance of the sphagnum mat. The paper opens 
with a quotation from the Journal 9:44 (30 Aug. 
1856): "Consider how remote and novel that swamp. 
... In it grow. . .plants which scarcely a citizen 

of Concord ever sees. It would be as novel to them 
to stand there as in a conservatory, or in Green- 
land." 



9. L.C. Hempel, "The Original Blueprint for a 
Solar America" Environnent 24i> no. 2 (March 1982), 
25-32, discusses in some detail J.A. Etzler's The 
Paradise wi thin the Reach of All Ten (2nd English 
ed«, 1842) and Thoreau's crmtique~ ,r Paradise (to be) 
Regained" ( The Democratic •Review , ; Cape Cod and 
Miscel lanies , pp. 2150-105 ) . "We have learned be- 
latedly some of the energy-and-ecology lessons 
urged on us by Thoreau. ...If Thoreau can be fault- 
ed for an overly cautious attitude toward the de- 
velopment of renewable energy sources, it is only 
because he was unaware of the more sinister envi- 
ronmental threats waiting to be introduced with 

the rapid development of fossil fuels and nuclear 
power . " 

10. J.C. Scott, "Flow Beneath a Stagnant Film on 
Water: the Reynolds Ridge," Journal of Fluid 
Mechanics 116 (1982), 283-296, cites Thoreau's ob- 
servation of this effect in his Journal £6:326f.; 
10:256, ll:408f.; cf. TSB 123 (1973), 4, and 143 
(1978), 2 . 

11. J.W. Ropes, "The Atlantic Coast Surf Clam 
Fishery, 1965-1974," 

Marine Fisheries Review 44, no. 8 (Aug. 1982), 1- 
14, refers to Cape Cod on the use of surf clams 
for food in New England (Thoreau's sea clam or hen, 
Mactra solidissima, pp. 7 2 f . , 85f., 94f.). 

12. S.F. Barstow, "The Ecology of Langmuir Cir- 
culation: A Review," Marine Environmental 
Research 9 (1983), 211-236, credits Thoreau with 
first recognizing that windrows on the ocean sur- 
face caused by cellular circulation patterns are 
aligned with the wind direction ( Cape Cod ), p. 120). 

Since the Science Citation Index has recently 
extended its coverage back to 1955, we can now 
summarize approximately 60 references to Thoreau 
that have been made over the past 29 years. About 
20 of these were "substantive" citations, in that 
specific observations or conclusions of his were 
mentioned in scientific and natural history per- 
iodicals, including eight references to the 
Journal and four each to Cape Cod and "The Succes- 
sion of Forest Trees." Citations of Walden were 
most frequent (24 times), but only two of these 
were substantive in the above sense, the others 
being quotations of aphorisms. Interestingly, the 
literary use of Walden has declined recently in 
medical and psychological articles, but has picked 
up somewhat in the pure sciences and natural his- 
tory. A perhaps more important trend is a decided 
increase over the past few years in the use of 
material from the Journal in the scientific 
literature . 



THOREAU SENTENCE PATTERNS IMITATED 
by Ramond Gozzi 

"I went to the woods because I wished to live 
deliberately" — so begins an oft-quoted paragraph 
of "Where I Lived, and What I Lived for," the 
second chapter of Walden . Several imitations of 
the sentence patterns of this paragraph, along 
with Thoreau's paragraph itself, appear in Ebbitt 
and Ebbitt, Writer's Guide and Index to English , 
(1982), 237-8. Adroitly written by students, these 
imitations should bring smiles to the faces of un- 
solemn Thoreauvians . Here are two of the imita- 
tions . 

Wh y I Took This Course 

I took this course because I wished to write 



deliberately, to use only essential words and 
phrases, and see if I could not learn to express 
myself better, and not, when I came to graduate, 
discover that I could not write well. I did not 
want to fail the course, my grade point average is 
so dear; nor did I wish to drop the course, unless 
it was quite necessary. I longed to write brilliart- 
ly and turn out the best possible essays, to write 
so perfectly as to put an end to all of the correc- 
tions on my papers, to cut out unnecessary words 
and produce clear prose, to try to bring my writing 
ability I possessed into the open, and expose it to 
criticism, and, if I proved to be a poor writer, 
why then at least I would have tried, and I would 
have no misconceptions about my skills, and if my 
writing were satisfactory, to gain confidence 
through my course experience, and be able to give 
an even better account of myself in my next English 
class. But many members of the class, it appears to 
me, are in a strange uncertainty about the course 
and its goals, whether it has been of benefit to 
them or not, and have somewhat hastily concluded 
that the chief purpose of the course is to "glorify 
Thoreau and enjoy him forever, whether you like 
it or not!" 

What I Grew and Why I Grew It 
I cultivated my beard to assert my independence, 
to show my family and friends that not only was I 
master of my own cheeks and chin, but of my life 
as well, and not, as they had thought, merely to 
enhance my appearance by natural cosmetic. I did 
not wish to hide my natural features, for I usually 
don't fret about things that aren't my fault or 
cannot be effectively changed; nor did I wish to 
sow the seeds of family discord for a few paltry 
hairs. I wanted to say to my parents at all times 
without having to talk incessantly, that I would 
not necessarily be molded by commonly held notions 
of respectability, that I would not necessarily 
marry respectably, if at all, get a respectable 
job, or live the proper life; but if I did, all 
would know that it was by my own hand, of my own 
mind, and for my own reasons; and if I didn't it 
would also be of my own choice and no reflection 
on them. I would not require nor owe apologies. Few 
men and fewer women know why they grow their beards; 
or if they know, they grow them for the wrong rea- 
sons: appearance, rebellion, prospective employment 
in a circus or just a lack of concern for looks 
and hygiene. My beard was a subtle declaration that 
was either misinterpreted or ignored altogether. 
Now my mustache is another story. 

THE 1985 THOREAU SOCIETY ANNUAL MEETING. 

The 1985 annual meeting was held on Sat- 
urday July 13, 1985, at the First Parish 
■ hurch in ''onrord, Mass., with Prof. Fred- 
erick Wagner of Hamilton College presiding. 
The secretary's minutes of the 1984 annual 
meeting were adopted as printed in the Sum- 
mer, 1984, bulletin. The treasurer, Mary 
Anderson, submitted the following financial 
report for the year 1984-5 and the budget 
for 1985-6: 
Income 1984-5 1985-6 



Membership $12,630 

Admissions 3,919 

Shops & sales 19,216 

Interest, &c . 2,485 

Donations 7,963 



$14,500 

4,500 

21,000 

3,000 

8,000 



Programs 



$507 
$46,720 



$500 
$51,000 



Expenses 

Wages &c $25,389 

Occupancy 3,818 

Overhead 7,982 

Publications 10,896 

Travel 796 

An. Meeting 115 

Archives 



$27,000 
4,500 
6,000 
10,500 
1,000 
1,000 
1,000 

$51,000 



$48,996 

Thus for the second year in a row the so- 
ciety operated at a loss of approximately 
$2,000. The treasurer's report was ac- 
cepted . 

The nominating committee (Ray Angelo, 
Parker tluber, Edmund Schfield, and Linda 
Beaulieu — chairman) submitted the follow- 
ing report: For president, Frederick Wag- 
ner; president-elect, Michael Meyer; chair- 
man of the executive committee, John clymer; 
program chairman, Marian Wheeler; Treasurer, 
Mary Anderson; secretary, Walter Harding; 
nominating committee: Esther Almgren, Parker 
Huber, and Edmund Schfield — all for terms of 
one year; and members of the board of di- 
rectors for three years: Esther Almgren and 
Raymond Borst. The report was accepted and 
the slate duly elected. 

A motion to raise the life membership, ef 
fective immediately, to $500 was unanimous- 
ly adopted. 

A report of the Lyceum was given by the 
curator Anne McGrath (see below). 

Kevin Van Anglen, reporting for the Tho- 
reau Edition, said that the volume of Tho- 
reau's Translations will be published in 
the Spring of 1986, as will a paperback ed- 
ition of A Week . 

Joel Myerson and Michael Meyer reported 
that our society will sponsor two sessions 
at the Modern Language Association conven- 
tion in Chicago in December, one on the 
teaching of Walden and one on the Trans- 
cendentalists and Self-culture. 

Patience Hosmer MacPherson read memorial 
tributes to ;^eqinald Lansing cook, Henry 
Beetle Hough, and Robert Francis Needham; 
and Jack Schwartzman to Leonard Kleinfeld. 

For further details of the meeting see 
the announcement in the spring bulletin. 
We are indebted to the following for assis- 
tance in making the meeting the success it 
was — the largest meeting in some years: Mary 
and William Anderson, Esther Almgren, Sue 
Altschuler, Margaret Brace. Sharon Crawford, 
Malcolm Ferguson, Priscilla Ferguson, Persis 
Green, Barbara and Linda Henning, Sylvia 
Klinck, Laurie Lundeen, Susan Minor, Eliza- 
beth Morris, Anne McGrath, Brad Parker, Mary 
Walker, Marian Wheeler, Russell Wheeler, and 
Larry Whipple. 

REPORT OF THE THOREAU LYCEUM by Anne McGrath 

When the Thoreau Foundation was formed in 
1966 it was because the founders thought that 
there should be a Thoreau Center in the town 
where the Concord author was born, lived, 
wrote, and died. As time passed, it became 
apparent that what visitors were looking 



for was information, not only about the 
man, but about his life, his family, his 
friends and his works. Gradually a re- 
search library and a book shop were added 
to the Lyce'um and before long, schools 
and colleges were making appointments to 
brinq classes here not just for an outing 
but to learn. The Lyceum has become a true 
"gathering of scholars." 

Among the annual offerings are, first, a 
Thoreau course for all the second grades in 
the public schools of concord--approxima te- 
ly 160 children. This is a structured 
course originally planned in cooperation 
with the Resource center of the concord 
School system. It begins with an intro- 
duction of Henry Thoreau by the Curator 
to the children at the Lyceum, continues 
in the fields and woods of i oncord with our 
staff naturalist. Finally in the classrooms 
the teachers carry on with units on jour- 
nal keeping, surveying, pencil making--all 
Thoreauvian activities which help to delin- 
eate the man as someone worth knowing. 

Each summer for the past nineteen years 
Walter Harding has led a graduate seminar 
in oncord and for the most recent years it 
has met at the Lyceum. Our library, small 
though it is, serves, I think, as an adjunct 
to the concord Free Public Library and now 
contains a fine collection of graduate the- 
ses and the Bernstein collection of literary 
scrapbooks. Dr. Harding's course has served 
over :30Q - teachers in colleges and high 
schools . 

For the general public the Lyceum offers a 
lecture series in both the spring and the 
fall, six evenings in all. These talks are 
given by writers, teachers, and scholars, 
frequently from faraway colleges and univer- 
sities who speak at the Lyceum without pay 
because this is the only Thoreau Center of 
its kind in the world. 

The naturalists of the area are not for- 
gotten, because the spring and fall series 
of walks to Thoreau' s favorite haunts have 
become a tradition largely because of 
their leader, Mary Mcciintock. 

In addition to the above activities, the 
Lyceum staff is busy throughout the year 
doing research, tracking down quotations 
for periodicals, sending information to in- 
quirers, mailing booklists. During the past 
10 months the Curator and the Director of 
Orchard House (home of the Alcotts) have 
joined forces to lead a seminar on '"oncord 
Authors for teachers from independent schools 
all over the country, to originate and pre- 
sent a two-part introduction on the same 
subject for junior English classes at Con- 
cord-Carlisle High School, to prepare and 
carry out a pilot program on the anti- 
slavery movement in concord for three 8th 
grades and next week will participate as 
leaders in a Concord Teacher Institute in 
preparation for an in-depth study of Concord 
history connected with Concord's 350th An- 
niversary in September. 

We belong to a committee of heads of 
houses of the various literary and historic 
places in ''oncord and cooperate in various 
projects including Open House Programs for 



oncord citizens and an on-goinq search for 
a solution of where to have a proper visi- 
tor center in Goncord . 

The current exhibit at the Lyceum is on 
Cape r 'od as Thoreau saw it, shown in beau- 
tiful photographs by Stephen L. Thomas in 
contrast with the black and white pictures 
of Herbert W. Gleason, plus books from the 
'"ape r od collection of Kenneth Harber. We 
invite you all to see it. 

IN MEMORIUM . . . 



HENRY BEETLE HOUGH . . . 

As a past president of the Thoreau Socie- 
ty, we were fortunate to benefit from his 
shy, but humorous poetic expression and 
encyclopedic information ranging from the 
local gentry to the blades of grass on the 
dunes on the island of Martha's Vineyard 
where he owned and published the VINEYARD 
GAZETTE for over 65 years. In 1918 with a 
fellow student he wrote a paper that won a 
special Pulitzer Prize. He served in the 
Naval Reserve for a spell, only to return 
to his beloved island. His knowledge of 
plants and birdlife was voluminous. At 
44 years of age his first book was published, 
beginning a second career. He was prolific 
as a writer of novels, history, children's 
books, nature books and biographies, includ- 
ing a popular one on Thoreau. His generosity 
in giving a hundred acres to a preserve 
that will forever be free of incursions, 
and his written words remaining, leave us 
the richer. — Patience Hosmer MacPherson 

REGINALD LANSING COOK . . . 

Reginald L. cook was another of the Tho- 
reau Society's distinguished presidents. He 
was professor emeritus of American litera- 
ture at Middlebury rollege, a forty-year as- 
sociation. A close friend and neighbor of 
Robert Frost, he wrote two books on the poet 
as well as two on Thoreau — THE CONCORD SAUNT- 
ERER and PASSAGE TO WALDEN. 

Not only was he a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, 
bat served later on the Rhodes Scholarship 
"ommittee for New England. Through his 
teaching and lectures, the respect and loyal- 
ty of his pupils made him a popular profes- 
sor, with potential writers making their mark, 
One of his students here today told me he 
never repeated the same lecture, reading 
each book anew before his review of his lec- 
ture . 

As a much younger woman, sitting silently 
in a corner of my livingroom, I listened in 
awe to a scientist, a naturalist, and he 
the scholar predicting the long range future 
of the hemisphere — a never forgotten ex- 
perience. Many of their predictions have 
become too real. Such is the truth of learn- 
rf mrn. --Pa tience Hosmer MacPherson. 

ROBERT FRANCIS NEEDHAM . . . 

Robert Francis Needham, a resident of 
roncord for thirty-five years, was a life 
member and for some years the vice-president 
of the Thoreau Society. Chairman and/or 



president of many historical societies 
throughout the state, as well as a member 
and office holder in the town of Concord's 
several historical societies, he served 
the community in every capacity on vari- 
ous committees. He also wrote at least 
two history books. 

•\ deacon of this First Parish r 'hurch, 
he served as treasurer and collector for 
many years. His dry wit, multiple contri- 
butions, and selfless interests throughout 
his lifetime made an impressionable friend 
forever. — Patience Hosmer MacPherson. 

LEONARD F. KLEINFELD 

I am here to speak of Leonard F. Klein- 
feld, a one-time president of the Thoreau 
Society. He was born on the East Side of 
New York City in 1899. He died in the Bor- 
ough of Queens on April 15, 1985. Between 
those two dates, he lived a full and rich 
life as a world traveler, a cosmic thinker, 
a poetic writer, and as a wonderful human 
being. 

For forty years, he was my dear friend, 
my philosophic colleague, my worthy co-edi- 
tor, my esteemed fellow-Thoreauvian. Un- 
fortunately, I did not see much of him to- 
ward the end of his life. Three weeks be- 
fore he died, I visited him in the hospital. 
It was a short but moving visit. It brought 
back nostalgic memories of a man who was 
truly a unique individual. As he himself 
termed it, he lived "in the shadow of Tho- 
reau," but, as I term it, he lived in the 
sunlight of wisdom. 

He was a self-schooled, hard-working man 
who managed to become a successful export- 
import dealer. I use the term "successful" 
as Leonard would use it: as an adjective 
signifying inward satisfaction. Leonard's 
occupation gave him the opportunity to 
travel to every nook and cranny of the earth 
and to mingle with all kinds of people, who 
loved him and became his life-lone friends. 

His basic belief was in the harmony of 
Nature and the divinity of Man. More than 
twenty years ago, in an article in FRAGMENTS 
he declared : 

"I never heard... in Nature any notes that 
were not harmonious, melodious, or tuneful.. 

"On a trip to Bear Mountain... I wanted to 
see the surroundings from the viewpoint of 
the waterfall. The gurgling, pulsating 
sheet of water falling into a pond below 
reflected the entire spectrum of rainbow 
colors in much the same way as does Niagara. 

"I remember reaching the summit of a Maine 
mountain, and spending the night aloft. In 
the distance, the sounds of bullfrogs, the 
cawing of crows, the shrilling of red-tailed 
hawks, just before the evening tide engulfed 
me, made me decide that melody was akind to 
silence — a help to abstraction. 

"On a lake in Columbia, in South America... 
I saw the arching fish play beyond the 
reach of hooks. 

"In the wilds of Surinam, ... the countless 
parrots screeched, the water lilies pre- 
sented a sight of beauty impossible to de- 
scrobe. . . 

"On one of the islands of the Netherlands 



Antilles, I watched a flotsam of fishing 
boats and ocean streamers. . .The feeling of 
ecstasy was sweeter than sugar to the mental 
palate. . . 

"On the crest of Monserrat in Bogota,... I 
watched the streets of the world below, feel- 
ing like a Heavenly Peeping Tom. . . 

"And then there were times when I had to 
walk alone, for fear that companions would 
talk of topics mundane." 

Leonard Kleinfeld was eighteen when he 
first read WALDEN. It became his "bedside 
bible." "I learned," he said, "that under- 
standing comes through education, not fear; 
that one of man's noblest assets is his in- 
tegrity. Thus, I never lived a life of quiet 
desperation. " 

His introduction to Thoreau turned Leonard 
away from a budding stage career. A 1919 vis 
it to Walden Pond made him a Thoreauvian for 
life. 

My friendship with Leonard continued for 
four decades. One incident sheds light upon 
our friendship. I managed, by an exciting 
stroke of luck, to find the famed Ricketson 
bas-relief of Thoreau in a bookstore on LonS 
Island. I was prepared to purchase this 
piece when Leonard asked me if I would mind 
relinquishing my "claim" and let him make 
the purchase instead. I agreed, and Leonard 
bought this precious work of art. As if 
that were not enough, he asked me to appear 
as his "ambassador" and present the bas-re- 
lief as a gift to the Thoreau Lyceum. Again 
I agreed. I made the formal presentation — 
and the masterpiece now proudly resides in 
its permanent home in the Thoreau Lyceum. 
What greater proof of friendship can a man 
show than to give up a Ricketson for a 
Kleinfeld? 

A great joy for Leonard, as he so often 
mentioned, was the launching of FRAGMENTS 
magazine. However, that feeling of exulta- 
tion was exceeded by what he called again 
"the greatest thrill" of his life, his elec- 
tion to the presidency of the Thoreau Socie- 
ty. "I shall never," he vowed, "forget the 
feeling." It was the proudest moment of his 
life. I was present when he delivered his 
presidential address — and I can still see 
the tears in his eyes when he finished his 
talk. 

ADDITIONS TO THE THOREAU BIBLIOGRAPHY. . ,WH 

Bajakian, Kyle. "At Walden Pond Activist 

Vows to Continue to Push to Ban Swimming." 

CONCORD JOURNAL. July 4, 1985. On Mary 

Sherwood . 

"Walden Pond Bank Restoration Slated 

in Fall." CONCORD JOURNAL. July 11, 1985. 
Rosalie M. Baum. "Thoreau* s Concept of the 

Wild." CONCORD SAUNTERER [CS], 17 (Dec. 

1984), 39-44. 
Black, David. "Walking the Cape." HARPER'S, 

270 (June, 1985), 49-54. In Thoreau 's 

footsteps . 
Blanding, Thomas. "Beans, Baked and Half- 

Baked 14," CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 44-50. 
. "The Concord Saunterer: An Index." 

CS, 18 (April, 1985), 1-50. 
. "Edmund Quincy Sewall, Jr., Henry 

Thoreau's 'Pure Uncompromising Spirit,'" 

CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 1-3. 

"Thoreau's Local Lectures in 1849 

and 1850." CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 21-26. 
Bonner, Willard H. HARP ON THE SHORE: THO- 
REAU & THE SEA. Completed and Edited by 



George R. Levine. Albany: State University 
of New York Press, 1985. 129pp. $9.95, 
paper; $29.50, cloth. The late Willard 
Bonner loved both the sea and Thoreau. 
This volume has been completed posthumous- 
ly by his friend George Levine. Although 
this is a thoroughly researched book, the 
sea was usually only poriferal to Thoreau's 
major interests. As he himself once said, 
he got' little salted by the sea. In fact 
so little was he acquainted with it that 
he was a grown man before he realized that 
seals were common along the Massachusetts 
coast. He never took anything greater 
than short coastal trips by boat, never 
longer than overnight, never more than 
briefly out of sight of land, and got death- 
ly seasick nearly every time he got into a 
boat. By going through all of Thoreau's 
works with a fine-toothed comb, Mr. Bonner 
was able to accumulate an amazing number 
of references to the sea, but they are only 
a tiny fraction of Thoreau's writing and 
rarely really central to it. It is a strik- 
ing example of riding a scholarly hobby horse 
but tells us comparatively little about 
Thoreau. 

The Same. Review. SUNY RESEARCH. 
May, 1985. 

BOSTON GLOBE. "On Walden Pond." March 23, 
1985. 

Brown, Stuart C. "Henry David Thoreau Wrote 
Words to Live by." DAILY MAIL (Williams- 
port ?, Pa.) July 11, 1985. 

Botsford, Audrey. "Thoreau Delight: Artist 
Tony Foster Celebrates Thoreau's Woods in 
Watercolor." APPALACHIA, 51 (July, 1985), 
3, 6. 

Bush, Sargent Jr. "The Ends and Means in 
WALDEN: Thoreau's Use of the Catechism." 
ESQ, 31 (1985), 1-10. 

Coakley, Michael. "Tourists Make Waves at 
Walden Pond." CHICAGO TRIBUNE. April 
21, 1985. 

Dodson, James. "The Man Who Found Thoreau." 
YANKEE, 49 (May, 1985), 62-65, 116-123. 
On Roland Robbins. 

Dean, Bradley. "Thoreau and Michael Flan- 
nery, " CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 27-33. 

Duban, James. "Thoreau, Garrison and Dy- 
mond." AMER. LIT., 57 (May, 1985), 309- 
317. Influences on "Civil Disobedience." 

Egan, Kenneth V. Jr., "Thoreau's Pastoral 
Vision in 'Walking.'" ATQ, 57 (July, 1985) 
21-30. 

ECONOMIST. "Walden Revisited." March 30, 
1985. Parody of WALDEN. 

Emerson, Edward Waldo. HENRY THOREAU AS 
REMEMBERED BY A YOUNG FRIEND. Review. 
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. July 
18, 1968. 

Farce, Giles. "Different Drummers: Thomas 
Merton and Henry Thoreau." MERTON FESTIVAL 
OF BELLARMINE COLLEGE, 10 (Spring, 1985), 
2-6. 

Ferguson, Malcolm. "Joyce Carol Oates Ad- 
dresses 44th Annual Thoreau Society Meet- 
ing." CONCORD JOURNAL. July 18, 1985. 

Fisher, Susan. "State Will Repair Banks 
of Walden." CONCORD JOURNAL. June 6, 
1985. Experimenting with stone enbank- 
ments for the pond. 

Fleck, Richard. "The Evil of Nature or 
.thfi^Nafcure of Evil in Thoreau's MAINE 
WOODS', * AMER. NOTES & QUERIES, 23 (Jan. 
1985), 77-78 

Foster, Tony. THOREAU'S COUNTRY: A VISUAL 
DIARY. New Haven: Yale Center for Brit- 
ish Art, 1985. 4pp. Catalog of exhibit. 



8 

. Review. NEW YORK TIMES. May 19, 

1985. 

Gollin, Rita K. & James B. Scholes. THO- 
REAU AMONG OTHERS: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF 
WALTER HARDING. Geneseo : State University 
College, 1983. 125pp. Essays by various 
authors on Thoreau's relations with his con- 
temporaries, delivered at a 1982 conference. 

Grove, Lloyd. "At Walden Breezes, Waiting 
for Thoreau." WASHINGTON POST. July 9, 
1985. Residents of Walden trailer park 
take out their frustrations on Thoreau. 

Heberlein, Larry. "Thoreau at a Party," 
SOUTH DAKOTA REVIEW, 22 (Winter, 1984), 
61-62. A poem. 

Hoag, Ronald Wesley. "A 'Life without 
Principle' Manuscript Fragment: What to 
Make of a Diminished Thing?" ESSAYS IN 
LITERATURE, 12 (Spring, 1985), 139-144. 

Holahan, David. "What Would Thoreau Think 
Now?" BOSTON GLOBE. July 4, 1985. Also 
syndicated elsewhere. 

Holden, Stephen. "Music: 'Walden,' by 
Choset." NEW YORK TIMES. June 3, 1985. 
Review of a new oratorio based on WALDEN. 

Hornblower, Margot. "A Growing Tide of 
Tourists Roils WALB§n Pond." WASHINGTON 
POST. March 20, 1985. 

Johnson, Li nek. "More on Thoreau's A WEEK 
ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS and 
Margaret Fuller's 'Good Week.'" CS, 17 
(Dec. 1984), 17-20. 

Kostoff, Leslie. NOTES ON WALDEN. Toronto: 
Forum House, 1968. 98pp. A "trot." 

Lebeaux, Richard. THOREAU'S SEASONS. Re- 
views: AMER. LIT., May, 1985; TIMES LIT- 
ERARY SUPPLEMENT, June 14, 1985. 

Loring, Susan F. "Reminiscences of Concord" 
CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 12-17. 

Lutyens, Elizabeth. CONCORD UNFOLDED. 
Concord: Welch Foods, 1985. Folder guide 
to Concord with segment on Thoreau. 

McKenzie, Leisa. "Students Plan Walden Pond 
Development." OSU ON CAMPUS. March 14, 
1985. Ohio State University landscape 
architecture students draw up proposals for 
Walden Pond State Reservation. 

McLachlin, Mary. "Beer C^ns, Radios & Wal- 
den Pond." DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL. 
March 24, 1985. 

Meltzer, Milton. AIN'T GONNA STUDY WAR NO 
MORE. New York: Harper & Row, 1985. 282 
pp. $12.50. A history for young people 
of the peace movement in the United States 
over the centuries, with many references to 
Thoreau's influence. We found it a fascin- 
ating book. 

Middleton, Tom. "140 Years Later at Walden 
Pond There's a New House for Henry." CON- 
CORD JOURNAL. July 18, 1985. A new repli- 
ca of the cabin was dedicated at the pond 
parking lot on Thoreau's birthday. 

Montgomery, M.R. "Showdown at Walden." BOS- 
TON GLOBE. March 25, 1985. 

Myerson, Joel. "John Albee and Thoreau." 
rs, 17 (Dec. 1984), 33-38. 

NEW YORK TIMES. "Dispute at Walden." Mar. 
21, 1985. 

OHIO STATE UNIV. ALUMNI MAG. "On Walden 
Pond." May, 1985. pp. 20ff. New landscape 
plans for the pond. 

Pillai, A.K.B. TRANSCENDENTAL SELF: A COMP- 



ARATIVE STUDY OF THOREAU AND THE PSYCHO- 
PHILOSOPHY OF HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM. Lan- 
ham, Md.: Univ. Press of America, 1985. 
116pp. $9, paper; $19.50, cloth. Origi- 
nally written as a M.A. thesis at East 
Carolina University, this book, as the 
author says, is "essentially. . .a work 
of comparative literature," comparing 
WALPEN with Indian scriptures. WALDEN, is 
he says, "the closest to the Yogic sys- 
tem of all major American writings." One 
should note, however, that this does not 
prove that Thoreau derived his ideas from 
the Orient, for he, Thoreau, tells us that 
he found confirmation of his own ideas 
when he discovered the Oriental scriptures. 
Although much has been written on Thoreau 
and the Orient, Mr. Pillai manages to 
escape much of the misty-ness that so many 
others have fallen into. His writing is 
clear, precise and to the point. 

Robinson, Lynda. "Pennsbury's David Barto 
Winning Raves of Students by Impersonat- 
ing Thoreau." BUCKS COUNTY [Pa.] COURIER 
TIMES. March 11, 1985. 

Ryan, George. "A Patron Saint for Walden 
Pond." BOSTON PILOT. Ap. 5, 1985. Pro- 
poses St. 3k. Thomas of Walden, a 15th cen- 
tury British saint. 

Sandler, Benjamin. "Thoreau, Pulmonary 
Tuberculosis and Dietary Deficiency."" 
CHEST, 63 (May, 1973), 855-856. Suggests 
Thoreau caused his own death by improper 
diet. 

Smith Harmon. "Henry Thoreau and Emerson's 
•Noble Youths." CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 4- 
12. Giles Waldo and William Tappan. 

Smith, Lorriw. "'Walking* from England to 
America: Re-Viewing Thoreau's Romanticism" 
NEW ENGLAND QUART., 58 (June, 1985), 221-41 

Sullivan, rheryl. "Thoreau Swam in Walden 
Pond: But Purists Want Others Barred. 
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. March 21,1985. 

Swanson, Doug. "Walden Purists Fight to 
Restore Solitude." CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. 
May 26, 1985. 

Thomas, Stephen L. "After Thoreau," CAPE 
COD COMPASS, 32 (1985), 66-74. 

Thoreau, H.D. JOURNAL. Peregrine Smith 
edition. Review. LOS ANGELES TIMES. Feb. 
24, 1985; SIERRA, March, 1985. 

JOURNAL II. Princeton edition. Re- 
view. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT. June 
14, 1985. 

"Milton's L'Allegro and II Pensero- 
so." MOUNT TOM, I (Dec. 1905), 233-240. 

Torsney, Cheryl. "Learning the Language 
of the Railroad in WALDEN." ATQ, 55 (Jan. 
1985), 19-28. 

Urbanski, Marie Olesen. "Thoreau in the 
Writing of Louisa May Alcott" in Made- 
leine B. Stern, CRITICAL ESSAYS ON LOUISA 
MAY ALCOTT. Boston: Hall, 1984. pp. 269- 
274. 

Vickery, Martha. "A Visit with 'the Pick 
& Shovel Historian." PRESERVATION NEWS. 
June, 1985. pp.5, 17. Roland Robbins. 

Walden Forever Wild. THE WALDEN LOON: A 
NATIVE DEPARTED. Concord, [1985]. Un- 
paged. 

Yardley, Jonathan. "Ten Books That Shaped 
the American Character." AMERICAN HERITAGE 
April, 1985. pp. 24-31. WALDEN is No. 1.